Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro - - Opinion -

T’S one of those dis­eases that may or may not kill you, but the risk is there and no one knows who will die or who will not. What the kind of those who did not sur­vive know is that death comes fast. Thus, there is all the rea­son to heed the warn­ing of the Davao City Health Of­fice (CHO) in these times of flood­ing to make sure you don’t go around wad­ing through flood­wa­ters if you have sores or wounds on your feet and legs. It can also in­fect through mu­cous mem­brane or the in­fected wa­ters or mud get­ting in con­tact with your eyes, nose, si­nuses, and mouth. Thus it is also rec­om­mended to wear rub­ber boots if you need to wade, and to take pro­phy­lac­tic medicine, most specif­i­cally doxy­cy­cline. Doxy­cy­cline, while an an­tibi­otic and re­quires a doc­tor’s pre­scrip­tion to avail of from the drug­store can be availed of for free at the CHO.

While wad­ing in flood is the most warned about, the dis­ease can also be ac­quired through con­tact with wet soil or mud con­tam­i­nated with the urine of the in­fected an­i­mal, most of the time rats and mice, but also in­cludes cows, pigs, and dogs.

Lep­tospiro­sis is a bac­te­rial dis­ease that when not treated can lead to kid­ney dam­age, menin­gi­tis (in­flam­ma­tion of the mem­brane around the brain and spinal cord), liver fail­ure, res­pi­ra­tory dis­tress, and even death. Its symp­toms can eas­ily be mis­taken to be just fever or flu. Symp­toms in­clude very high tem­per­a­ture or a shiv­ery feel­ing, a headache, aching mus­cles and joints, red eyes, and loss of ap­petite.

Thus, if you feel sick af­ter wad­ing through flood­wa­ters or mud, bet­ter have your­self checked by a physi­cian. Re­mem­ber, in­cu­ba­tion pe­riod of the bac­te­ria is be­tween 7-10 days. Mean­ing, you may not feel the symp­toms right af­ter wad­ing.

This fever or flu-like symp­toms can worsen and re­quire emer­gency med­i­cal treat­ment when you have the fol­low­ing symp­toms: jaun­dice or yel­low skin and eyes, swollen an­kles, feet or hands, chest pain, short­ness of breath, and cough­ing up blood. But we hope you will not be wait­ing for their height­ened symp­toms be­fore seek­ing pro­fes­sional help. As stated, lep­tospiro­sis can lead to death quickly.

Some­times, a pa­tient may not even show any symp­toms. That is why the CHO rec­om­mends pro­phy­lac­tic medicine or doxy­cy­cline but only as pre­scribed by a physi­cian be­cause it is not for ev­ery­body. For one, preg­nant women should not take this medicine.

The Depart­ment of Health also says, early recog­ni­tion and treat­ment within 2 days of ill­ness pre­vents com­pli­ca­tions of lep­tospiro­sis, so early con­sul­ta­tion is ad­vised.

Bot­tom­line, pre­ven­tion is bet­ter than cure. Don’t wade in flood­wa­ters or mud when you have open wounds. Don’t splat­ter flood­wa­ters on your­self or other peo­ple to avoid in­gest­ing it or get­ting it through the soft tis­sues of your body, like the eyes and the mouth. And when a few days af­ter wad­ing through flood­wa­ters and you feel sick, con­sult a doc­tor im­me­di­ately. Do not wait for the symp­toms to worsen, and most es­pe­cially, do not self-med­i­cate.

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